Danny Klaers nets game winner as Tonka stays unbeaten
Danny Klaers’ wrister from the point looked innocent enough, but it found its way past a screened Evan Turek to give top-ranked Minnetonka a 5-4 overtime win over No. 3AA Wayzata.
It was another back-and-forth battle between two of the state’s top teams. They played Dec. 29 and skated to a 1-1 tie with Wayzata outshooting the Skippers 29-24.
The Trojans dominated the first period outshooting the Skippers 19-4 and scoring twice. Wayzata’s top scorer Jake Mattson got the Trojans on board with his 16th goal of the season 11 minutes in with Cade De St. Hubert and Luke Miller getting the assists. Sophomore Eli Molde gave the Trojans a 2-0 lead when he netted his seventh goal of the season with 55 seconds to go in the period. Ben Kearin and Jack Hartle assisted.
The ice tilted back in Minnetonka’s favor in the second when they scored three straight goals. Luke Garry got it started on the first shift of the period just 18 seconds in. Devin Berg and Jordy Johnson assisted. The Skippers leading scorer Ashton Schultz then netted a pair of goals at 9:13 and 15:43 to give the Skippers a 3-2 lead. Garry, Brayden Thompson, Devin Berg and Hagen Burrows assisted on the two tallies as the Skippers outshot the Trojans 15-7 in the second frame. Schultz, a North Dakota commit, leads the Skippers with 44 points (17-27-44).
But the Trojans tied it on a power play goal by Rhys Wallin, his 15th of the season, assisted by Brooks Gengler and Hawke Huff. Molde then put the Trojans ahead 4-3 with his second goal of the night midway through the period when he scored from near the goal line. It looked like he was trying to shovel a pass in front, but the puck somehow found its way behind Tonka goaltender Hunter Bauer. Huff and Brittan Alstead assisted.
But Minnetonka answered less than a minute later when University of Minnesota commit Javon Moore beat Turek to tie the game with 7:37 remaining. Klaers and Burrows assisted on Moore’s 17th goal.
Both teams had chances late in the period, but both Bauer and Turek turned them away as the teams ended regulation in a 4-4 stalemate.
Wayzata was whistled for a penalty in the overtime, but successfully killed it off. Klaers then received a pass from Robby House and fired a long range shot from near the Minnetonka bench. It appeared Turek wasn’t able to track it as it found it’s way into the net as the bench erupted to celebrate their 18th win in 20 games.
🚨 #3 Klaers (OT WINNER!)
🍎 #33 House
🍎 #12 Lunski
— Minnetonka Skippers Hockey (@TonkaBoysPuck) February 2, 2024
The Skippers improved to 18-0-2. Their two ties were against Wayzata and No. 2AA Edina, both by scores of 1-1. They have had two other one-goal games, going to overtime against No. 4AA Chanhassen in a 3-2 win and beating No. 8AA Shakopee 4-3. They will travel to Buffalo Saturday for a Lake Conference match up.
Shots in the game were 31-29 in favor to Minnetonka.
Wayzata fell to 17-2-2. Their two losses have come to top-ranked Minnetonka and No. 2 Edina (4-1 on Jan. 23). They have tied Minnetonka and No. 9AA Eden Prairie. They have the next week off and will face Blake Friday, Feb. 9 and Eden Prairie on Feb. 10.